All Posts, Creative Consulting

Putting On A Few New Hats

Hey, guys! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated — well, more like a hot year almost. Just wanted to share this bit of news!

So, some of you know – though most of you don’t – that I am on the cusp of launching a business that I have been working on for a while now. I wasn’t quite sure what it really looked like until recently, and it wasn’t until I stopped searching for the answer that it smacked me right in the face.

In the coming weeks, I will be launching a creative consulting business where I help others who, like me, are wanting to build their own dreams instead of slaving away to build someone else’s. My focus will be on individuals in the creative space who seek non-traditional paths but need someone to help them build solid platforms in all areas of life so that their goals are attainable. This isn’t just about pursuing a dream career – it’s about changing your entire life and the way you approach every single day.

I don’t know about any of you, but I cannot stand the idea of wasting day after day in mediocrity, only fantasizing about chasing my dreams but never actually taking any step in the right direction toward them. And if there’s one thing I’ve come to realize in the last three years that I’ve been learning and growing in this area, it’s that inaction is the enemy of every single thing you could ever want to have or accomplish in life.

If you’re not adapting – growing – evolving – what are you doing?

And that’s where I want to help. I want to help people adapt to the changes needed to pursue those big ideas they think about but never take action on. I want to help people grow in ways they never knew were possible. I want to help people evolve into their next level self and continue to do so day after day, year after year.

This is just a snippet of what’s to come. Keep an eye out for more updates over the next few weeks with additional information on what exactly I will be offering once I am set to launch this new endeavor! I plan to include affordable proofreading for indie authors along with my consulting and coaching as well, so tell all your indie author friends! 😉

And for those who may be wondering, the answer is yes, I am still hard at work on Dreamweaver and I am very happy with how it’s coming together. I am also working on a proposal for a non-fiction piece that ties into my new business and I have two short stories that are on the back-burner but may turn up in the blog at some point in the near future just for fun reads.

Again, keep your eyes peeled, and I’ll have more to share soon!

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Degree or No Degree…That is the Question

degree

A college degree is often seen as a beneficial and, depending on your career path, necessary requirement to have in your professional arsenal. And while you can do many jobs without this level of higher education, the experience it provides can still be incredibly advantageous.

That said, I want to touch on a debate I have seen going around the interwebs lately, especially in some of my writing groups.

Does an author need a degree or formal background in writing to be successful?

Short answer: No, they do not.

But, and I say this as a possibly biased English major, it does help to have that extra bit of knowledge under your belt. While I am still a year out from holding my degree in my hands, I have already seen the results of my education and how it has transformed my work. I have studied a wide range of topics within the realm of English and have learned a great deal on the origins and background of my craft that has influenced how I perceive my career choice and goals as I move forward.

I have also honed my critical thinking skills, sharpened my writing, gained knowledge from classmates that has been invaluable, and found new interests within the subject along the way. I’ve also taken classes centered around technology that have helped me as far as my author platform and web-based interaction goes, and my current classes are focusing on writing for professional publication and web authoring, which are again, incredibly helpful.

So why would I say writers don’t need a degree? Well, because you don’t NEED a degree to write. The knowledge you gain through education helps, but setting out to write without a writing-based degree doesn’t make you any less of a writer. Some authors choose to teach themselves what they need to know, and rely on their passion for writing to lead them the rest of the way.

As long as you have the drive and ambition to succeed as an author, that’s really all you need. If you choose the college route, that’s great, and while it might get you where you want to be faster by having that information, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful if you don’t have a specific degree that is related to writing.

The key is to simply persevere and continually push and improve. If you are doing that, you’re doing great, and a degree doesn’t supply you with that inherent desire. If you want to write, write. Don’t let anyone tell you that you must meet some sort of requirement in order to pen your story. As long as you are determined and plan to put in the work, that’s what matters. An education helps, but it’s not the be-all-end-all in the world of writing.

What do you think? Is a degree necessary, or just a bonus to have in your professional profile?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

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Literary Agents

I’ve seen a lot of discussion in my online writing groups regarding literary agents lately. People have been asking what exactly they do, how to find them, and whether they’re even necessary to have, and it really struck me when I realized how many authors were sort of in the dark on this topic.

I’ll admit, I didn’t always understand their full significance myself, but after perusing the Internet and interacting in groups with those who had all the good information on agents, I feel much better about my understanding of their imperative role in an author’s publishing journey.

So exactly does an agent do? Well, their biggest role is to work as a liaison between an author and a publishing house. Most medium to large scale publishing houses will refuse manuscripts that are sent by the actual author – they typically want only works that are sent by agents. If you submit a query to an agent and they agree to take you on as a client, their job is to find a publishing house that fits your manuscript. Different publishers look for different types of submissions, and agents have the insider knowledge that will help them put your work in the right hands.

lit-agents

Now, if we’ve gotten this far and you’re wondering what a query letter is, don’t fret. It is essentially a letter that explains your story in order to capture the attention of the agent. It is a necessary component to acquiring an agent and is an important skill to hone if you wish to take the traditional publishing route. A well composed query letter also makes you stand out professionally and can give a great first impression with a kick of additional credibility. If an agent can see that you are serious and able to construct a well thought out letter, they will have more faith in you and your manuscript, provided the story stands out to them as well.

More information on drafting a killer query letter can be found at http://nybookeditors.com/2015/12/how-to-write-a-darn-good-query-letter/.

Of course, it is important to find an agent you’d like to submit to, or even a few of them, before you can get much further in the process. While there are many routes to take and plenty of agent directories online, you’ll want to make sure that the agents you’re looking into are legit, and a quick search of the Association of Author Representatives can help as well as taking a look at client lists.

Two directories I recommend include:

By now, you can probably gather that finding an agent to represent you is necessary if you plan to take the traditional publishing route. If you self-publish, it isn’t as necessary, and if you are planning to submit to smaller, regional publishing houses, they aren’t as much of a requirement either. But a trusted agent can definitely guide you in the right direction if you plan to submit to larger publishers.

Here are a few more links with great information on literary agents:

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-find-a-literary-agent/

http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1586

http://ingridsundberg.com/2010/04/15/the-dos-and-donts-of-submitting-to-a-literary-agent/

I hope you found this helpful, and if you have anything add, whether it’s advice, recommendations, or additional information, please leave a comment! I only scratched the surface here and would love more feedback from those who have gone through the process. 🙂

 

All Posts, My Writing, Thursday Thoughts

When the Going Gets Tough…

Writing is hard.

I’ve spent two weeks filling a notebook with ideas and then sitting down at my computer only to get back up again because I just didn’t feel ready; my headspace wasn’t where it needed to be.

A lot of people, upon asking what I do for a living, say things like, “Oh, that must be fun!” or, “I’ve always wanted to do that!” and I kind of sit back and say to myself, ‘You know, it is fun, but it’s a damn challenge, too.’

I try to ignore the comments because I feel they sort of discredit what I’ve set out to accomplish. Yes, anyone can write, but I get a bit sensitive when someone mentions writing like a bucket list item. That’s my deal though, and I’m trying not to let it get to me as much, especially since a lot of those people aren’t intending to come across the way I take it.

But sometimes it truly is hard to get around those comments because writing is so hard. You can literally sit and pour hours into a piece only to hit the delete button because it just wasn’t coming together and no amount of editing could save it, pour your heart out onto a page only to question whether anyone will care about what you’re trying to say, and pour your soul into something that you might never see a return on but know that you need to finish it anyway.

On top of the time spent and the amount of yourself you pour into your work, you also have to believe it’s worthwhile. You have to have some semblance of faith in your decision to take this art and craft it into a tangible career prospect because without that faith, it becomes hard to keep pushing.

Because writing is hard.

It’s long hours and not-long-enough days, deadlines and self-discipline, procrastination and stress. It’s research and fact-checking, editing and revising, criticism and constructive feedback. It’s hard work, dedication, rejection, and perseverance. And it takes heart and soul.

Writing is hard because every word you put on a piece of paper or type into a processor is a part of who you are, and I know that for me, I want every word I publish to the world to be composed the right way. I want it to provide the correct and most authentic message, present my genuine voice, and share my ideas in a way I can be proud of.

My greatest fear as a writer is that I’ll embarrass myself somehow or damage my own credibility, or even force something to the point that it no longer reflects who I am. The amount of work that goes into this craft far surpasses simply putting words to a page and is the reason I respect anyone who sets out to make a career out of it.

Despite the drawbacks and seemingly negative aspects, I wouldn’t change my decision to shape my career around writing. It has given me so much more than I could imagine with any other pursuit and at the end of the day, it is my greatest strength and the one thing I know I can make a difference with.

I am definitely not the greatest, nor will I ever come close, but I do hope that I can make an impact in at least one person’s life with what I have to say. And that hope is what helps to keep me going, along with my faith and the fact that I’m not really living unless I’m creating art with my words. It’s how I make sense of the world around me and understand myself in relation to the world, and without it, I would be absolutely lost.

It’s hard, but so worth it.

All Posts, Favorite Quotes, Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

dreams

Finding some great inspiration today! This book isn’t going to write itself. 😉